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Bennett: Israel must not be 'hostage' to one country
By GIL HOFFMAN
03/12/2013
Comments come amid tensions between Israel, US and poll revealing half of all Israeli's want less dependence on Washington.
 
The tension between Israel and the United States continued to escalate Tuesday, when Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett warned that Israel cannot rely economically too much on any one country.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said two weeks ago that Israel relied too much on the US and needed to build more alliances.

An Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) poll on the cover of Tuesday’s The Jerusalem Post found that nearly 50 percent of Jewish Israelis agree with him.

Bennett said he learned a lot from the dispute with the European Union over its demand that its funding not go to any organization or institution that operates over the 1949 armistice line. Bennett, together with Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, resolved the dispute last week in a way that allowed Israel to continue to participate in the lucrative EU Horizon 2020 program.

“One of the lessons I took with me from the negotiations with the EU on the Horizon 2020 agreements is that Israel must produce, accelerate and strengthen trade agreements, and we must further research and development agreements across the globe,” Bennett posted on his official English Facebook page.

Bennett said that “Israel must not be overly dependent on any one organization or state” and “should not allow herself to be a hostage to anyone.”

The minister said he had instructed Israel’s Foreign Trade Administration to accelerate and expand without delay agreements not only with the US and European countries but also with India, China, Canada, and Brazil.

A source close to Bennett said he was fully aware of the IDI poll when he decided to post his statement about not relying too much on one country.

The poll was taken last Tuesday and Wednesday amid heightened tension between Jerusalem and Washington over the deal the US and five other Western powers signed with Iran in Geneva on the Islamic regime’s nuclear program.

When asked whether Israel should seek new allies, 49% of Israeli Jews said yes, 45% said no, and the remainder had no opinion.

Asked whether Israel would succeed in finding new allies, 70% of Jewish Israelis believe Israel will not find any.
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